The primary responsibility of the Elder Abuse Unit is investigative management and prosecution of crimes involving elderly victims of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. The Unit was created several years ago in recognition of the fact that the proportion of Rhode Island’s population that is sixty years of age and older is dramatically increasing and will continue to do so in the coming years. Coupled with the fact that this age group is the State’s fastest growing demographic is that crimes against senior citizens often go unreported, presenting high temptation and low risk factors to potential offenders. The special needs often presented by elder victims and the fact that elder abuse, neglect and exploitation crosses all racial, socio-economic, gender and geographic lines made the need for a special unit apparent.
In Rhode Island, there is a mandatory duty of all citizens to report a suspicion of elder abuse and/or elder financial exploitation. To report elder physical abuse and/or elder financial abuse, contact your local police, Rhode Island State Police or the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs at (401) 462-3000 or dea.ri.gov.